By Kristi Fackel

Sono Kuwayama’s art is subtle. It is always extraordinarily beautiful, but it takes a moment to unfold. It asks you to engage, to participate and to collaborate, rather than consume. This recent work addresses wholeness, deconstruction, and transformation. The cubes open to reveal secrets and surprises that sometimes relate visually to the outer and sometimes don’t. Several of the cubes are monochromatic, while others shimmer in metallic leaf. Sono uses some materials that I have seen her use before, like paper, eggshell, diwali wicks, and wool, but here to brand new effect. The very first work of art by Sono that I ever saw was a square piece of plexiglass coated with broken eggshells arranged in a circle. Squares and cubes inscribed with circles are forms that I have seen Sono use before and here they are brought to full expression.

This recent work is multidimensional. Each piece can either be a sculptural object as a cube, or opened and hung on a wall, where it becomes a hinged painting. When they are hung as paintings, the inner is completely hidden from view. As cubes, they look vulnerable. When they are opened, the outer is no longer visible. But these aren’t simply an exploration of the duality of outer and inner, instead, Sono shows us something more complex. She fills the opening with the rich texture of a memory (sand from a trip to Jordan,) an absorbing experience of color, an evocative scent, or chaos brought to order. Sono’s work always addresses the possibility of transformation and the reminder that things in this world are constantly changing. Her origami mind strives always to bring spirit into manifestation.

The larger pieces reveal Sono’s capacity for three-dimensionality. They fold and unfold, matching color and line and are many-faceted, changeable sculptures. The inner seems to be a grisaille or cartoon (in the art historical sense) of the outer, or an alchemical rendering of the color field version on the other side.

I would call these works thought forms, because they bring to form so many of the things I know Sono wrestles with: beauty, transformation, multidimensionality, and simplicity.


Chiasmus by Sono Kuwayama at KI SMITH GALLERY

Opening Reception October 21, 6 to 8pm

197 E 4th Street
New York, NY 10009